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Advanced FDM Software Is Designed to Eliminate CAD-to-STL Roadblock

GrabCAD Advanced FDM eliminates the CAD-to-STL conversion process,
creating new 3D printing possibilities for designers and engineers. (Graphic:
Business Wire)

Stratasys aims to create new possibilities for additive manufacturing by removing complexity from the design-to-3D print process

DALLAS–SOLIDWORKS WORLD–Stratasys is working to remove complexity from design-to-3D print processes and thereby empower designers and engineers to embrace new 3D printed possibilities. GrabCAD Print’s Advanced FDM feature is aimed at ensuring design intent via intuitive model interaction to rapidly deliver strong, light, and purpose-built parts.

By avoiding laborious CAD-to-STL conversion, users can work in high fidelity and rapidly advance the design-to-3D print process, Stratasys said in a press release. Advanced FDM is designed to speed part production, while maintaining creation of purpose-built parts that minimize weight without compromising strength.

“For design and manufacturing engineers, one of the most frustrating processes is ’dumbing down’ a CAD file to STL format–only to require subsequent re-injection of design intent into the STL printing process,” said Mark Walker, lead software product manager at Stratasys, in the release. “This software is engineered to do away with this complexity, letting designers reduce iterations and design cycles–getting to a high-quality, realistic prototype and final part faster than ever before.”

With rich CAD-native build controls, the solution doesn’t require manual generation of complex toolpaths, cutting overall programming times for 3D printing. Intuitive features achieve desired part characteristics through automatic control of FDM build attributes. Engineers easily select areas on native design geometry and specify design attributes, letting Advanced FDM automatically calculate 3D print toolpaths, the company said.

“GrabCAD Print Advanced FDM’s geometry-based workflows have allowed us to fine-tune part builds, meeting application requirements and process parts more quickly than we could before,” said Robert Heath, additive manufacturing application engineer at Eckhart. “The seamless transition of moving a build between applications is easy and intuitive.”

Assigning attributes directly to CAD models, users pinpoint areas of strength and rigidity, control infills, ensure sufficient material around holes with inserts, and avoid seams. Because toolpaths are automatically generated from model assignments, the user can expect to spend significantly less time on part setup, without losing strong, high-quality, purpose-built FDM parts.

“Advanced FDM has proven invaluable in improving our part processing time. When processing a very large number of tools and fixtures in a very time pressured environment, it was crucial to ensure stronger tool areas were correct first time, every time,” said Dave Hewitson, rapid prototyping programmer at McLaren. “Advanced FDM negates the requirement for multiple programs, creating a more streamlined process. It’s also allowed us to more effectively control the structure of end-use car parts, something that was previously very difficult with the solutions we had in hand. This means we can get better parts to the track faster.”

GrabCAD’s Advanced FDM is available now via download with GrabCAD Print (from versions 1.24) and is supported on the following Stratasys 3D printing systems: F370, Fortus 380mc, Fortus 380mc Carbon Fiber Edition, Fortus 450mc, Fortus 400mc, Fortus 900mc, and F900.

Stratasys ( is a provider of additive manufacturing, or 3D printing, technology and is the manufacturer of FDM®and PolyJetTM 3D Printers. The company’s technologies are used to create prototypes, manufacturing tools, and production parts for industries such as aerospace, automotive, healthcare, consumer products, and education.

GrabCAD and Stratasys are registered trademarks, and GrabCAD Print, F370, Fortus 380mc, Fortus 450mc, Fortus 400mc, Fortus 900mc, and F900 are trademarks of Stratasys Ltd. and/or its subsidiaries or affiliates.

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